A GREAT-GRANDMOTHER thought she was being scammed when she was told that she had won first prize in a charity lottery.

Margaret Wood, from Billingham, had been taking part in the Butterwick Hospice Care lottery for more than 25 years when she took a phonecall from a lady who told her that she had won their top prize of £1,500.

“I said to her, ‘Are you sure?’ and she said, ‘Yes, Margaret.’ I still wasn’t convinced that it wasn’t a scam, because there are so many going round at the moment, and when I told my husband, he said the same thing.”

Margaret only believed it was true when she received the cheque in the post.

Butterwick Hospice Care was started more than 30 years ago, by Mary Butterwick, who sold her home to raise funds after her husband, John, died of cancer. Margaret met Mary when she used to come to speak at the church that Margaret attended in Billingham.

“She visited our Friendship Hour group and told us what she had done to set up the hospice. I thought it was a such good cause to support, so I started playing the lottery,” explains Margaret. “But you don’t support it hoping to win, do you? I see it as a regular donation towards the marvellous work that they do.”

Margaret’s sister and brother both died of cancer and were treated at the hospice in Stockton. Her sister, Marlene, had bowel cancer and, when she was very ill, would find it hard to eat.

“When she was at the hospice day care, the cook would come and ask her if there was anything particular that she fancied to eat, and would then go and make it for her,” said Margaret. “That wouldn’t happen in a hospital – they can’t just go and make you an omelette because it’s what you fancy. Marlene thought it was an absolutely marvellous place.”

Margaret is keen to urge everyone to join the weekly hospice lottery, and says: “They are so busy with patients, and it would be wonderful if they could build more hospices, but they need more money. I’ve told my husband that, God forbid I should ever get cancer, I hope it would be the Butterwick that he would put me in to for respite care.”

Part of her surprise win is going to be shared between her four sons and one daughter – who have 13 children and two grand-children between them – and she is going to spend some of it on her house.

Information on joining the lottery can be found at: www.butterwick.org.uk/whatyoucando/butterwicklottery/ Or call us on 01642 6289362